City Hall

Cut to the Chase With Today's Liveblog of the City Council's Public Safety Committee

Afternoon, Friends. I'm up here in City Hall's good old room 6ES for the council's Public Safety Committee meeting we told you about earlier today -- on the menu are that upcoming police women reality-docu show and the Dallas Police Department's pursuit policy. The cameras and media types are here to catch (hah!) the pursuit policy discussion, which is no doubt made more interesting by that wacky little chase we had a couple weeks ago that ended up in the middle of Love Field.

Chief David Brown opened up the meeting with his crime stats report. (Hey, rape is only up 18.1% now! Let the sober, well-behaved and in no way provocative dancing in the streets begin!) He was going to follow up with his homicide report but decided to talk about the chase policy instead, as apparently this homicide bit is quite extensive. The media rejoiced. Street dancing, etc.

So here's the deal: High-speed chases are freaking dangerous and will probably kill some adorable child who just wants to eat their ice cream and listen to their Justin Bieber in peace. No, seriously. Originally, the cops said, they wondered if their "fairly restrictive" chase policy would result in an increase in crime because criminals would just run wild with abandon knowing they wouldn't be pursued. But that's not been the case, and the cops are pretty excited about the not killing innocent people just because driving fast and catching the bad guys, a la Dan Stark, is actually pretty bad policy.

Which is why the DPD encourages its officers to take into account "all of the circumstances and all of the facts available" before engaging in a chase, which is kind of logical and also like, holy cow, do you really have to tell the cops that? Hm. But the main addition they've made to their policy here is that police now have to evaluate the "relative performance capabilities of emergency and suspect vehicles," as in, if the bad guy is running away on a super-fast motorcycle and the cops are in a pokey squad car, don't bother. So I guess that's the take-home for all the criminals out there reading Unfair Park.

Then the police launched into a play-by-play of the August 19 low-speed chase, which is a lot less exciting as a PowerPoint presentation than it was on the actual day of the chase. Bullet points just aren't really capturing the adrenaline rush. The question at hand is whether the cops did wrong by not running the guy off the road or, later, by running the guy off the Love Field runway (which is against their policy, generally). And the answer to that question is: nope, cops did good. They never had a good opportunity to stop the guy without endangering innocent folks for most of the chase, but by the time The Suspect was at Love Field, supervisors authorized deadly forced. Says Chief Brown: "There were fuel stations on the tarmac that the suspect was not near but could've diverted quickly towards," as well as planes full of passengers. The Suspect was thusly forced off the runway and tackled.

Now we're moving on to take questions from the committee. Join us in the comments for more fun.

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Andrea Grimes
Contact: Andrea Grimes

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